I speak in part as a very concerned global citizen, but equally with my Charitable Travel trustee role in mind.
The Covid-19 crisis, given its truly global impact, has shone a stark light on the truth of what has been achieved pre-pandemic in terms of robust and enduring social inclusion and social welfare in developing world tourism destinations.
“The Covid-19 crisis is having sweeping consequences on tourism jobs and enterprises, notably on small and medium enterprises which account for around 80% of tourism businesses globally”, according to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which has had an inevitable impact on the people who power the tourism product we so value.
The dependence of so many economies on the income that tourism creates has been laid bare and the weakness in the lack of depth in diversity of income has created hardship on a global scale when pivoting is just not an option and where a welfare state system does not exist.
Aside from the obvious lack of pace of the World Health Organisation-led (WHO) Covax initiative to vaccinate people in the developing world, there is a need to support the welfare of these communities now; to accelerate the pace of Covid-19 vaccination by changing the proportion of vaccine available to the poorest nations; and to energise the effectiveness of amazing initiatives like the Future of Tourism. This rapidly supports communities and nations diversifying their income post-pandemic to protect against future challenges to the tourism income in places that have little else.
As we start to embark on our travels again there is a parallel urgent need in the developing world for the income that this return to travel will bring, but with an equal need to create both the right safe environment for that return and future resilience so that our colleagues in the developing world are not left abandoned to disadvantage when something else bad befalls the destination.
Right now we should consider the words of the WHO director general: “Until we end the pandemic everywhere, we won’t end it anywhere”.